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Animals are visual thinkers. We are verbal thinkers.

– Vinciane Despret, What Would Animals Say If We Asked Them the Right Questions?

An aerial view of Brasilia draped in shades of midnight blue. The sound of a helicopter merges with animal noise in the background, while the camera, resembling the movement of an owl, whirls in 360 degrees. It feels as if we are contemplating the city from the bird’s perspective, except that the movement of the camera is an ever-intensifying one, gradually increasing to the point of no longer distinguishing the clouds in the sky from the mountains or the buildings in the city. After four minutes of spinning around in circles, the opening credits appear over the black screen.  

It’s Night in America

É Noite Na América/It is Night in America (2022) is the first feature-length film by Brazilian filmmaker, visual artist and curator Ana Vaz. Premiered at Locarno’s Cineasti del Presente competition, where it received the Pardo Verde award (a prize that recognises works that best reflect on contemporary environmental issues), the film follows the steps of fugitive wild animals in the expansive aeroplane-shaped city of Brasilia – a metropolis built in the 1960s by the architects Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, and which is known today as the country’s failed modernist project. Shot entirely on expired 16mm film reels, the documentary delivers mesmerizing imagery that concerns the animal’s sense-ability at large; it takes critical distance from the human-centric gaze embedded in more conventional wildlife documentaries in order to depict, with profound empathy and tactility, the multinaturalism of different species. 

Using long takes, a tactile apprehension of the space and an immersive soundtrack composed by Vaz’s father, the multimedia artist Guilherme Vaz, the film draws on the filmmaker’s ethnographic training to reflect on the consequences left by industrial modernity, colonialism and the Anthropocene in those endangered animals we see wandering around the zoo and its neighbouring streets. On screen, as Vaz tells in an interview, we witness stories such as that of Macau, a giant otter born in Dortmund in Germany and transferred to Brasília’s Zoo with the intention to repopulate the land of its ancestors. In another sequence, we share the intimacy of contemplating a fox’s face framed from an extreme close-up, allowing us to come into contact with the animal’s gaze through the vital yet fatigued expression of their eyes, and through the way in which colonial dispossession has made a mark on their body – on their fur, eyes, nose and impoverished mobility (later on, once the mammal has been captured and caged, we realise that he has had a loss of muscle mass and is struggling with pain due to distemper). They represent, echoing Barbara Creed, stray animals who live as political refugees in the Brazilian capital: “The stray is an outsider, the other, an exile – the one who lives apart from the mainstream. As an outsider, the stray may have accrued a certain sharpness of vision accorded necessary for daily survival”.1 In Vaz’s documentary, straying is also a means of experimenting with our senses: to live on the fridge, and to film as an outsider seems to be the only artistic response available for a filmmaker dealing with a world committed to uniformity. In It’s Night in America, as much as in the Anthropogenic age that we’re currently in, we all become strays.        

The film, which is shot in broad daylight, employs the Nuit américaine or American night technique, also known as the day-for-night method popularised in the Westerns of the 1950s and 1960s (see, for example, John Ford’s The Searchers (1956)). However, whereas the quintessential North American genre tends to charge with mythological significance the separation between “the civilized hero” and “the native”—that is, films about conquering the land and its “wilderness”—Vaz’s documentary reverses such colonial binary by creating a more inclusive cosmopolitical environment inhabited by different species. In this sense, It’s Night in America could well be described as a counter-Western; one that constantly shifts perspectives between human and nonhuman animals as well as between optical and sound events. And the sound design here is key to achieving such eco-nocturnal effects. Made in collaboration with Nuno da Luz and Erwan Kerzanet, the soundscape creates an unsettling sense of terror that depicts Brasília’s animals “as if the opaque human world were being registered from the inside of a rattling cage”.2 As Ela Bittencourt suggests in her review of the film: “Such proximity, the intensity of the sound design and the camera staying close to the ground, readjusting the human to the creaturely scale, induces a keen sense of being with other creatures”.3 Hence, instead of staging and affirming the human exceptionalism held by both the Western philosophical tradition and the once-dominant Hollywood genre, Vaz’s documentary solicits viewers to deconstruct their own narcissistic and colonial being to embrace a broader, and richer, animal existence.

In his pioneering 1977 essay ‘Why Look at Animals?’ John Berger reflected on the emergence of industrial capitalism, which marked the beginning of the disappearance of animals from public life, being co-opted by the family (as domestic animals) or by the spectacle, proliferating in commodified forms such as zoos and the toy industry. To borrow Laura Mulvey’s famous phrase, we could say with Berger that humans do the looking in the zoo; animals are there “to be looked at”:4

The public purpose of zoos is to offer visitors the opportunity of looking at animals. Yet nowhere in the zoo can a stranger encounter the look of an animal. At most, the animal’s gaze flickers and passes on. They look sideways. They look blindly beyond. They scan mechanically. They have been immunised to encounter, because nothing can any more occupy a central place in their attention.5 

Brasília Zoo. It’s Night in America

Brasília Zoo. It’s Night in America

Brasília Zoo. It’s Night in America

Brasília Zoo. It’s Night in America

According to Randy Malamud, the modern zoo, through its interactions with institutions and sponsors, shapes our colonial disposition towards animals, strengthening the view that the human is the “imperial species”6 par excellence. It is because they are animals, and not humans, that they are exhibited in the zoo and given as fodder for our gaze. Similarly, Akira Mizuta Lippit affirms that cinematographic technology constitutes a mausoleum for animals, a gesture of mourning for the disappearance, and even extinction, of wildlife, now converted into a spectre in the context of post-industrial capitalism. For Lippit, the nonhuman animal, despite its erasure, makes its presence known as an unknowable other that we can nevertheless look at.7 Often the exchange of glances between humans and animals is seen as a symptom of alienation or as a purely narcissistic gaze since it is impossible to interpret the gaze of the animal towards the human. Jonathan Burt, on the other hand, proposes that the record of the animal-other constitutes a form of rupture in the field of representation that allows for a more relational interaction with other species.8 The animal on the screen presents kinetic, morphological and expressive dimensions that make available a series of affects in their confrontation with the human.9 The audio-visual works produced by Ana Vaz are in many respects an ethnographic mediation of such commonality of experience with some of our “companion species”.10

Undoubtedly, It’s Night in America moves away from the traditional ethnographic project and its depiction of other-than-human animals as the external and abjected element to understanding our society. As seen in classic works such as Les Maîtres Fous (Rouch, 1953), where we watch horses possessed by spirits of colonial administrators to signify a cultural tradition that is only pertinent to the cult’s members, the spectator witnesses an anthropocentric image that, beside negating any significant encounter with animal alterity, demonstrates our supposed entitlement to dominate and guard them as if they were second-class living species. They represent, in Derrida’s terms, “the absolute other” in Western culture:

This distinction [between human culture and animal nature] can appear to be subtle and fragile, beginning with the distinction between the symbolic and the imaginary that in the end sustains this whole anthropocentric reinstitution of the superiority of human order over the animal order [and] of the law over the living being.11 

Derrida’s other––an animal excluded from human consciousness and the realm of the symbolic––is also the one removed from the polis, the place for politics. As we know from Aristotle, “man” is, “by nature”, a “political animal”. These are the four terms informing his influential political philosophy: animal, nature, man and politics, each of which he divides into sub-categories that have been debated, and contested, over the millennia. However, as Juliana Fausto exclaims in her Doctoral thesis, A cosmopolítica dos animais/The Cosmopolitics of Animals, to whose reading Vaz reacts in It’s Night in America, these terms have been usually put together in a way in which the white male figure remains at the top of the hierarchy: “Is man an animal or not? Does he have a nature? Is nature determined by man or vice versa? And what is the nature of the political?”12 Here, as Fausto infers, one also wonders about the status of the stray animal in Aristotle’s taxonomy: Would they also be part of the polis? Would they be a case of politics – that is, a zoon politikon? For the Greek philosopher, the answer seems obvious: “That man is much more a political animal than any kind of bee or any herd animal is clear. For nature does nothing in vain, and man alone among the animals has speech”. Devoid of language, then, the nonhuman animal must remain outside of the polis and the realm of the symbolic. 

According to Gilbert Simondon, although in ancient times human life was prioritized over animal life, this was done without rigorous or passionate opposition.13 Additionally, for the cynic philosophers,14 animals were a privileged site of reflection and everyday askēsis (training). Diogenes, for example, came to the realisation that he did not need shelter or human dainties after having watched a mouse being able to adapt to adverse circumstances in the polis. (Thus, observing this man behaving like an animal, the people of Athens began to call him “the dog” – a kynikós philosopher). With the birth of dualism, however, the animal begins to be used as a foil for man, and to be treated as nonhuman – that is, a pseudo-living, or that which man is not: a kind of duplicate of an ideally constituted human reality. The philosophy of René Descartes definitively marks this binarism. For Cartesianism, what is true for man is not true at all with respect to other species. The animal is for him an extension of the physical world (res extensa), while man is elevated to the realm of consciousness (res cogitans). That is, essentially, the mind and body split inaugurating the modern tradition of Western philosophy: while thought is distinctive of humanity, the animal is without intelligence or instinct, closer to an automaton than to a sentient living being. Such distinction between human and nonhuman animals raised by Cartesianism necessarily leads to the realm of the political.    

And here is where, we argue, things go wrong in Vaz’s documentary. What we experience on screen is not a human politics of the animal (as in the Aristotelian tradition), but an integral politics of animality that includes and interacts with other species as part of the same nature-culture continuum. In that sense, other-than-human entities are not only seen, but they also look back and this gesture is verified through the animal’s gaze and positioning that the camera adopts in the film, as well as in Vaz’s decision to shoot not only through the day, but also at night, a moment in which the city becomes a habitat for animals in our post-industrial setting. This shift is developed by Fausto in her thesis and made audible and visible in Vaz’s documentary, one that puts an end to the classical divide between anthropos––the human––and the rest of nature, or zoe. Echoing Rosi Braidotti, such approach in the film is read as a “zoe-centred egalitarianism”, one which “helps to redefine old binary oppositions, such as nature/culture and human/nonhuman, paving the way for a non-hierarchical relationship to the species”.15 Similarly, It’s Night in America calls on us humans to become the animal that therefore we are, rather than asking other animals to renounce their instinctual and visual powers. Hence, by treating the spectator as one of the animals, Vaz develops a politics of animality where the trap of projecting human characteristics on other species is avoided under what Brian Massumi calls an “animo-centric environment”.16 According to Massumi, this is a broader animal realm where the a priori dominance of language is lost without losing the vitality of the body: “It is a politics that re-establishes ties with our animality”;17 one that is particularly attentive to modes of thought enacted by nonverbal gestures, making “language a play” – that is, making “instinctive usage” of it.18 To the question What (do) Animals Teach Us About Politics(?), the author proposes a non-cognitive approach to ethics and aesthetics that is central to Vaz’s cosmopolitics. Like Massumi’s theory, where perception is a matter of bestowing meaning to a world that is sensorially mobile and variable among species, Vaz’s documentary also envelops the human into a broader animistic environment where the distinction between bios and zoe, or human culture and animal nature, is proclaimed to be useless next to the affective qualities of the body; hence, an animo-cinematic polis that places the vitalities of each member at play in relation to one another and in connection to our multiple perspectives.   

It’s Night in America

The city becomes here the habitat for hundreds of stray animals (not to mention the human refugees who also proliferate in the peripheries of Brasília19). Maned wolves, foxes, monkeys, anteaters, owls, capybaras, boas, and otters allow us to see with different eyes, more haptic eyes, an environment that is indeed multiple and animistic. It portrays an onscreen reality that can be best described by what Nietzsche once called “bodily perspectivism”, and which Ana Vaz, by using the camera as an almost prosthetic extension of her body, employs to give other-than-human-entities a point of view:

Let us be on guard against the dangerous old conceptual fiction that posited a “pure, will-less, painless, timeless knowing subject”; let us guard against the snares of such contradictory concepts as “pure reason”, “absolute spirituality”, “knowledge in itself”: these always demand that we should think of an eye that is completely unthinkable, an eye turned in no particular direction, in which the active and interpreting forces, through which alone seeing becomes seeing something, are supposed to be lacking; these always demand of the eye an absurdity and a nonsense. There is only a perspective seeing, only a perspective knowing; and the more affects we allow to speak about one thing, the more eyes, different eyes, we can use to observe one thing, the more complete will our “concept” of this thing, our “objectivity” be.20 

By turning the screen into a purely sensorial interface, Vaz is concerned with giving the most precise expression possible to the animal’s positioning, avoiding the trap of projecting human characteristics on other species by placing the corporeal as the locus for thought, emotion, and sense-ability (all attributes on which we have claimed a longstanding monopoly). In It is Night in America, like in her previous installations and short films, the spectator joins into a broader animal realm where the dominance of human language is irremediably lost in a network of non-verbal interactions and affects. In the film, there is very little dialogue commanding the story, and when there is any it is often to play around with syntax, rearranging words and phrases like in an anagram, as if the invitation was to learn—or unlearn—a new language: “It’s ightn na merica. And I ees like this: eythr allcornerd, but being with eth animals ni the ooz we learn a tol fo things…” The voiceover concludes: “Being with the animals in the zoo we learn a lot of things”. First and foremost, what we learn is the possibility of having a more undomesticated relationship with other species, one based on coexistence, sympathy and mutual inclusion. It is an experimental space that moves away from the traditional human politics of the animal, or from the exclusivity of human language, to find a zone of ontological proximity among the living. 

In his collaborations with Félix Guattari, Gilles Deleuze similarly claims that the animal has acquired an inferior status in psychoanalysis. For example, as described in A Thousand Plateaus, Jacques Lacan defines animals by their lack of language, hence, as in Aristotle’s taxonomy, cancelling their subjectivity as subject-signifiers. In Freud, too, we see the animal being reduced to a mere symbolic value through his analysis of the Wolf Man’s neurotic dreams, the Rat Man’s obsessive thoughts and Little Hans’ phobic relations to horses. Even for Jung, who partially de-oedipalized psychoanalysis, the animal remains an occurrence in the world of dreams. So, next to Lacan, Freud and Jung, the animal must sit on the floor, not on the psychoanalyst’s couch: 

The least that can be said is that the psychoanalysts, even Jung, did not understand, or did not want to understand animal-becoming (…) They see animals as representatives of drives, or a representation of the parents. They do not see the reality of a becoming-animal, that is affect in itself, the drive in person, and represents nothing.21 

It is also in A Thousand Plateaus where Deleuze and Guattari challenge Descartes’ theory of the “animal as machine”22 through their proposal of animal-becoming. As they argue, the act of becoming has nothing to do with mimesis – that is, with the imitation or reproduction of other bodies. On the contrary, to become is to find a zone of proximity between entities; a dissolution of identities that erases the boundaries between the one and the other: “To become is (…) to find a zone of indifferentiation where one can no longer be distinguished from an animal, an insect or a molecule”.23 

It’s Night in America

It is this approach, we believe, that best describes Vaz’s integral politics of animality, because as far as all species share the same ontological status and are equipped with unique perceptual dispositions, then one can no longer establish a demarcating line separating the human from the rest of the living: if the human becomes one of the animals onscreen, then it is also the animal who is equipped with the intelligence and sensibility wrongly assumed to be the sole providence of humans. Consequently, it is suggested that Vaz’s politics of animality––one expressing the affects that humans and nonhuman animals have in common––pertains to the realm of the body, or more specifically to what Deleuze calls the “flesh”. Referring to the painter Francis Bacon who found inspiration in the skin and flesh by undoing faces to better express human shouts, postures and actions, Deleuze claims that “the artist does not say, ‘Pity the beasts’, but rather that every man who suffers is a piece of meat. Meat is the common zone of man and the beast, their zone of indiscernibility”.24 

Other recent documentaries that provide a visual and aural depiction of nonhuman entities include Bestiaire (D. Côté, 2012); Los Reyes (I. Osnovikoff & B. Perut, 2018); Gunda (V. Kossakovsky, 2020); and Cow (A. Arnold, 2021). Similarly, It is Night in America is also in dialogue with a tradition of ethnographic cinema in Brazil that has taken on the question of colonialism and its lasting consequences on the environment, especially in the Amazon forest. These works include Jorge Bodanzky and Orlando Senna’s Iracema, Uma Transa Amazônica (1981); Andrea Tonacci’s Serras da Desordem (2006); and more recently, João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora’s Crowrã (2023). Like these ethno-fictions, Vaz’s body of work aims at addressing the interconnection of all that lives, blending the factual with the cosmological (Amazing Fantasy, 2018), the mythical with the historical (Pseudosphynx, 2020), a poem by Fernando Pessoa with The Enlightenment (Occidente, 2014), or the mirroring gazes of human and nonhuman animals as accounted in her trailer for the 27 Santiago International Documentary Film Festival (El Espejo, 2023). As Vaz puts it in an interview: “It is a cinema that brings different materials together, a cinema that considers objects as characters, a cinema that could explode or implode from the space of the screen itself”.25 It is not a coincidence, then, that her latest audiovisual piece is an installation work about her father, Guilherme Vaz, that explodes and expands the cinematographic frame in multiple spatial ways (A Árvore, 2023).  

Crowrã/The Buriti Flower

El Espejo/The Mirror

Towards an Interspecies Perspectivism

Graduated from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Le Fresnoy, and influenced by her training at the Experimental Programme in Political Arts (SPEAP) directed by Bruno Latour, Vaz’s work calls into question the “Great Divides”26 separating nature from society, the nos (we) from the otros (others),27 or what counts as nonhuman and human. By presenting us with an environment that is meaningful for both human animals and nonhuman animals, Vaz develops a cinema that redefines old binaries, accounting not only for a more egalitarian relationship to other species but also by calling on us humans to get closer and recognise the animal that we have always been (instead of measuring other animals’ intelligence by setting them tasks that are not their own). An integral politics of animality, echoing Donna Haraway, means becoming with many, especially the stray: “We’re creatures of the mud, not the sky”.28 Haraway’s interspecies dependencies should also remind us here of the two traumas that Freud spoke about in his lectures on narcissism and the historical displacement of human exceptionalism: the Copernican trauma, namely that we’re a tiny fragment and live at the margin, rather than at the centre, of a cosmic galaxy; and the Darwinian, that is, the fact that humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor, and that they evolved differently from this common mother-ape. As informed in his notebook, and after visiting Jenny, the first orangutan to be exhibited in the London Zoo, on 28 March 1832 Darwin writes: “Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work, worthy the interposition of a deity. More humble and I believe true to consider him created from animals”.29 Such animal presence at the basis of human experience is the clearest indication of our kinship with other species. However, this relatedness and the many genetic invariants among animals should also include the anthropological observations adopted by Darwin in his zoological studies; that is, a method of recording based on the singularity of species that, endowed with unique sensory organs, reveal and relate to the environment in different yet always meaningful manners. Ana Vaz’s It’s Night in America is in many ways an encounter with such perceptual qualities of the animal pluriverse; a film that encourages us not only to be tactful and curious about other species but also to communicate and exchange perspectives with them to construct a common “we”.    

With no narration and more animal noise than human, and by acknowledging all the animal participants in the final credits of the film, It’s Night in America calls for a de-anthropomorphizing image that de-hierarchizes the role of human language in arbitrating meaning and reality. It brings into play a pluralist ontology under what the anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, like Nietzsche before him, calls “bodily perspectivism” – namely, a “multinaturalism”, or the capacity of all entities “to occupy a point of view”.30 As the anthropologist explains in his ethnographic work with the Amerindian groups of the eastern Brazilian Amazon:

[Nietzschean] Perspectivism is a multinaturalism. A perspective, however, is not a representation because representations are properties of the mind, whereas a point of view is in the body (…) The difference between points of view––and a point of view is nothing but a difference––must lie in the specificity of the body. Animals perceive in the same way as us but perceive different things that we do, because their bodies are different than ours. I do not mean here physiological differences [only], but the affects, or strengths and weaknesses, that render each species of the body singular: what it eats, its way of moving or communicating, where it lives, whether it is gregarious or solitary, timid or fierce, and so on.31 

Like the people from the Amazon, Vaz’s views on Brasília represent a multinaturalism where different species are endorsed with, or framed from a perspectivist angle. From the capybara swimming in the pool of the Itamaraty Palace to the owl in the Radio Centre and the boa constrictor wandering in Taguatinga, the spectator is invited to imagine what is like to be in their bodies and, as it were, see “oneself” in them.  

Consequently, in opposition to the rational Cartesian project whose mind is always detached from the world it examines, for the Amerindians in the Brazilian Forest, as well as for Vaz’s animal subjects in the polis, apprehending the world is not a matter of capture but of engagement, “not of making a view of the world but of taking up a view in it”.32 This means that if the intention is to make possible the experience of a place beyond its all too human confines, then contemporary ethnographic practice, whether written or audio-visual, depends precisely on how much attention we pay to an integral politics of animality that erases, with sensibility and ecological accuracy, the boundaries between the human and the nonhuman.

Endnotes

  1. Barbara Creed, Stray: Human-Animal Ethics in the Anthropocene, (Sydney: Power Polemics, 2017), p.7
  2. Ela Bittencourt, “Of Beast and Man: Ana Vaz’s Ecological Dreamscapes”, MUBI Notebook: (20 June, 2023), https://mubi.com/notebook/posts/of-beast-and-man-ana-vaz-s-ecological-dreamscapes
  3. Bittencourt, 2023.
  4. Laura Mulvey, 1975, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, Screen 16 (3), p. 7.
  5. John Berger, ‘Why Look at Animals?’, About Looking (London: Writers and Readers Publishing, 1977/1984), p. 26.
  6. Randy Malamud, ‘Animals on Film: The Ethics of the Human Gaze’, Spring 83 (2010), p. 23.
  7. Akira Lippit, Electrical Animal (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000).
  8. Jonathan Burt, Animals in film, (London: Reaktion Books Ltd, 2002)
  9. Moreover, in her Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film, Anat Pick proposes that the human-animal distinction is a site of contestation, anxiety and ritual as well as a philosophical, scientific, religious and artistic site. In the context of modernity, relationships between humans and nonhumans have been clearly separated and the maintenance of human integrity has taken a violent and devastating toll on other species, as a power disparity operates in this arena. Citing Matthew Calarco, Pick asserts that dismantling the boundary between humanity and animality is not only desirable, but an inevitable consequence of our philosophical tradition: the human-animal distinction must be abolished or treated with considerable caution and suspicion. Pick follows Simone Weil and her theory of vulnerability as marks of existence. For both, fragility and finitude have a special kind of beauty and have always been inherently ethical. This also applies to nonhuman animals. According to Weil, what exists must be loved, loved because it exists, because it is subjected to necessity. The creature is above all a living body and vulnerability is a mode of exposure. From there she advances a theory of care that is applicable to both human and nonhuman animals alike.
  10. Donna Haraway, The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, people, and significant otherness. (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2003)
  11. Jacques Derrida, The Politics of Friendship, trans. George Collins. (London: Verso, 1994/2005), p. 131.
  12. Juliana Fausto, A cosmopolítica dos animals (Rio de Janeiro: Tese de doutorado, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janieiro, 2017) p. 11.
  13. Gilbert Simondon, Two Lessons on Man and Animals, Trans. Drew S. Burk (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2012)
  14. From kynikós, meaning “doglike”.
  15. Rosi Braidotti, ‘Posthuman Critical Theory’, Journal of Posthuman Studies, Vol. 1 (2017), p. 23.
  16. Brian Massumi, What Animals Teach Us About Politics, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), p. 52.
  17. Massumi, 2014, p. 52.
  18. Massumi, 2014, p. 45.
  19. For further reference, see Juliana Fausto’s analysis of the candangos, the workers who built Brasília in the most precarious conditions possible, crowded together as a herd and eating spoiled food as their stray animal companions in the streets. They lived in the outskirts of Brasília, as most workers and refugees still do. Juliana Fausto, ‘El gato de mil colas: animals, humanos, tierra y suciedad.’ Editorial Cactus Blog: https://editorialcactus.com.ar/blog/el-gato-de-mil-colas-animales-humanos-tierra-y-suciedad/
  20. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals, trans. Walter Kaufmann. (New York: Dover, 1887/2003), p. 54.
  21. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988/ 2005), p. 303.
  22. In dividing animal body from human soul, Descartes associated the former to the laws of physics and mechanics – that is, a soulless creature reduced to the model of the machine.
  23. Deleuze and Guattari, 2005, p. 277.
  24. Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, trans. Daniel W. Smith (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1981/2005), p. 21.
  25. Stefan Solomon, “A Cinema That Could Explode or Implode: Ana Vaz Discusses ‘Occidente’”, MUBI Notebook (1 June 2016), https://mubi.com/es/notebook/posts/a-cinema-that-could-explode-or-implode-ana-vaz-discusses-occidente
  26. Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel (eds.), Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005)
  27. As Gloria Anzaldúa writes in her account of the new mestiza, ‘nos/otros’ is all of us, the native and the foreign, the self and the other, the human and the nonhuman: the ‘nos’ means ‘us’ and ‘we’, whereas the ‘otros’ means ‘them’ or the ‘others’.
  28. Donna Haraway, When Species Meet, (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), p. 3.
  29. Paul Barrett, Peter Paul, Sandra Herbert, David Kohn and Smith, Sydney (eds.), Charles Darwin’s Notebooks 1836–1844, (New York: Cornell University Press, 1987) p. 300.
  30. Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Cannibal Metaphysics, ed. and trans. Peter Skafish, (Minneapolis: Univocal, 2009/2014), p. 24.
  31. Viveiros de Castro, 2014, p. 72.
  32. Viveiros de Castro, 2014, p. 70.

About The Author

Cristóbal Escobar is Lecturer in Screen Studies at The University of Melbourne and Film Programmer at the Santiago International Documentary Film Festival. Cristóbal co-edited with Barbara Creed the ‘Film and Nonhuman’ Dossier at Senses of Cinema (Issue 109) and he is the author of The Intensive-Image in Deleuze’s Film-Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press, 2023). His current research project investigates the aesthetics of mestizaje in contemporary Latin American cinema. Valeria de los Ríos Escobar is an Associate Professor at the Instituto de Estética of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She is the author of six books, including: Vida animal. Figuraciones no humanas en el cine, la fotografía y la literatura (2022); Metamorfosis. Aproximaciones al cine y a la poética de Raúl Ruiz (2019); Fantasmas artificiales. Cine y fotografía en Enrique Lihn (2015); and co-author of El cine de Ignacio Agüero. El documental como la lectura de un espacio (2015).

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